Interviews

Interview with Annie Douglass Lima

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I am excited to be continuing my participation in the Heartsong Blog Tour. Today, I will be hosting Annie Douglass Lima here on my blog for an interview. I am excited to learn more about her, about Heartsong, and about her writing process. First, let’s learn a bit about Ms. Lima.

Author Bio:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published eighteen books (fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrap booking, and international travel.

Now it’s time for some questions. Hello, Annie, and thank you for joining us today. Please tell us, how did you come up with the idea for Heartsong?

I had a dream a few years ago in which I was the only human living on an alien world, with one particular alien in charge of my education and integration into their culture. I played with the idea in my mind for quite a while, adjusting and developing it, until eventually it was substantial enough to be the basis for a plot. And thus Heartsong was born!

What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?

Heartsong is about a human girl who encounters an alien race that’s never had any contact with humans before. Creating the Somavian culture was a challenge to me, because it was so hard not to take elements of cultures from Earth and just assume they would be universal. Even something as simple as pressing a button on a technological device, for example. Would aliens necessarily come up with the idea of pressing buttons? And how about furniture? Just because Somavians’ bodies are shaped similarly to humans’ doesn’t necessarily mean they would design and use furniture in the same ways. And then there’s communication, transportation, employment, clothing, currency, art, music, government. Everything either had to be totally different than on Earth, or there had to be good reasons why it would have developed similarly on Somavia. And of course it all had to be consistent, with every detail joining together to create a cohesive picture of Somavian culture. It was tricky, but I enjoyed the challenge!

Can you recommend any books/authors that inspire you?

Yes! Anything by Anne Elisabeth Stengl or KM Weiland is awesome. I also really like Michelle Isenhoff’s books.

What was your writing process for Heartsong like?

I always begin by outlining my plot two or three different ways, including jotting down brief summaries of what will happen in each chapter. The details change as I go along, and I always end up with more chapters than I originally planned, but I really need that structure to get me started and keep me focused as I write. In this case, I did most of the planning and prewriting in October of 2015, in preparation for drafting the novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month; November).

Drafting a 120,000-word novel was not an easy task to complete in a month while working as a fulltime teacher! I love my day job and would never want to quit, but I often wish it left me with more time for writing. One of the secrets to my NaNoWriMo success was getting up early most days and putting in an hour or two of writing before school started. Sometimes I set my alarm for as early as 4:30 a.m. Fortunately, I am a morning person, but it was still hard to get up that early! I pulled some late nights, too, and that was even harder for me. On Saturdays and Sundays I often spent all afternoon writing (mornings were for church and errands).

When November and my rough draft were finally behind me, I let the dust settle for a couple of months before I opened the manuscript again. Then I began the gradual process of dealing with the different marginal notes I’d written as I went along, mostly related to information I needed to add or look up. After that came multiple rounds of revising and editing, with breaks here and there to focus on other books that temporarily pushed their way to the forefront. After that, I read the book aloud to my students, whose responses helped me see where I needed to make changes. Then of course there were beta readers to enlist and their feedback to apply, and my professional editor to read through the whole thing and suggest more changes. After that, Heartsong was finally ready to meet the world!

Are there any characters in Heartsong that you DID NOT get along with while writing this story?

Yes, one. That would be Amelia Chang, the Taiwanese governor of a multicultural human colony in a distant part of our galaxy. She was a hard character for me to write, because she represents a certain (not necessarily pleasant!) side of my own personality. She is strict, you might even say harsh, and yet she makes the choices she believes are in the best interests of those for whom she is responsible. The teenage main character doesn’t get along with her at all and is horrified by some of the things Governor Chang does (and I believe readers will be too). And yet I don’t intend for the governor to come across as a monster or even a villain (though some may see her as both). She’s simply a well-meaning leader with a difficult job in a difficult time, doing her best to protect those under her care … whatever it takes.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from this book?

Sing your true heartsong. And don’t be afraid to sing the heartsongs of those you can represent to others who need to hear them. (That will make sense after you read the book!)

What’s your next project?

I’m putting the finishing touches on a fantasy novel called King of Malorn, which I hope to release on August 1st. It will be book 5 in my Annals of Alasia, and revisits the original characters in a new adventure that takes place five years after the other books.

Bonus: You come face to face with a dragon–what do you do?

  1. Panic!
  2. Pray that it’s from Pern and not Middle Earth.
  3. If it hasn’t noticed me yet, back away slowly until I can get to somewhere safe/hidden.
  4. If it has noticed me, try to casually make conversation so it won’t think I’m afraid (which admittedly is not likely to work since I’ve already panicked by this time).
  5. If it doesn’t eat me right away, ask it for a ride.

Heartsong Internet VersionAbout Heartsong: 

A fun fact about this book…I had the extreme honor of being able to design the cover for this amazing novel. Annie made my job easy, because she already had a background image that she had fallen in love with, that almost perfectly fit her story world. We then began the arduous task of finding a young model that would describe Liz, her bookworm heroine. After several attempts, we finally decided on this amazing version of the cover.

Now, about the story!

Two alien worlds.

One teen emissary.

No reality she can trust.

Thirteen-year-old Liz Smith has been ripped away from one foster family after another for years, so the idea of a permanent home is tantalizing. Who cares if that home is a colony sixty-five thousand light-years from Earth? The friends in her trusty e-reader will keep her company just fine on her interstellar relocation.

But when the adventure of a lifetime turns into the disaster of the cosmos, Liz can only retreat so far into the books that have always sheltered her from loneliness and loss. Trapped in half-truths and secrets that leave her questioning reality, can one orphaned bookworm find a way to stop two races from destroying each other … and somehow write a happy ending to her own story?

If you like books about space travel, aliens, or cross-cultural transitions, you’ll love this poignant science fiction adventure. Get your copy of Heartsong now to start the journey today!

Purchase your copy of Heartsong today!

Blog, Interviews

Renegade Skyfarer Blog Tour and Interview

I am thrilled to be participating in another blog tour this month. This book looks amazing, and I can’t wait to read it. I mean, how can you go wrong with an airship? Let’s jump right in and learn about Renegade Skyfarer and its amazing author, RJ Metcalf!

  1. Hello, RJ! What inspired you to write this fantastical story? Are any of the characters in your story inspired by real people? 

The true inspiration for this story came from my husband, Mike. He’s the one that dreamt of this amazing world, and he knew the general plot points, from start to finish.

We’re a team, and while he knew the plot points, he didn’t know how the characters would get from place to place, or the details in between.

It could be said that he created the bones, and I fleshed it out, adding the heart and soul. (sounds kind of like we’re making a chimera here. Maybe I should think of a different analogy…)

There’s some supporting characters that are inspired by real people, but no main characters. All the main characters are uniquely themselves. But there’s one secondary character who I literally took her real-life counterpart, tweaked her a bit to fit into the world, then plopped her in. Granted, that character has grown much since she was first introduced in the prequel (which will be out Winter 2019), and she’s become her own unique character now, but she originated from a friend here. And I had tossed myself in there as a point of amusement, and then panicked a bit when she became a bigger role in book two. That’s not what I had planned! But, as any writer will tell you, sometimes the characters revolt and inform you that the plans have changed, deal with it.

  1. Tell us about your writing space: what does it look like? 

**sheepish laugh** Organized chaos? I got a large desk from Goodwill last summer, and at the time I thought it’d be bigger than I needed. Now I’m contemplating how I can get a bigger desk to fit in our room, as it feels like I’m always running out of space! I have a laptop and a second monitor, my speakers, a crystal salt lamp, a mug of pens and pencils, a desk lamp, two candles, a stack of character notes, dinosaur references, and my calendar on my left, and a pile of editing notes to my right. (As well as my chai. That’s a very important item on my desk.)

And then there’s my sticky notes. I have sticky notes on my desk by my speakers and on my second monitor. Sticky notes on the wall to my left (and maps. I have many maps), and sticky notes lining the window in front of me. Airship pictures to the right of the window, and more sticky notes on the side of the bookshelf that’s also to my right.

…I like my sticky notes.

  1. Do your characters talk back to you?

Yes! And sometimes they’ll do something completely unplanned that just fits, and then I have to change all I’d had planned in my outline to accommodate for whatever foolish decision they’ve just made. **rubs forehead** These guys sometimes cause me great vexation. I love them.

  1. Tell us about the next book in this series: have you started writing it yet? Will it follow the same set of characters? 

Oh, yes. Book two, Void Born, will be coming out this fall, and it will pick up soon after where Renegade Skyfarer leaves off. There’ll be four books in this series (plus a prequel, anthology, and a stand-alone book), and they’ll all be taking place in the same world, with many of the same characters.

It’s going to be a wild ride. And I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone so soon!

  1. And, finally, a dragon asks to borrow your car: what do you say? (I could also share a snippet from the book of the author wants to send one along, as well as her bio and social media links)

Well, I can only assume it’s not a dragon from my world, so I’d probably just back up and let it, as I don’t know what kind of dragon this is, and I’m rather fond of living. **laughs** If it’s a dragon from my world, then it’s not sentient, and if it wants my car, that’s fair, because I’ll want its hide for selling on the market, let alone the nutrients of dragon meat, so I’d probably battle it.

…Unless it’s a stalker. In which case, I’m out of there. Nopedy nope nope.

I was asked about a snippet, so here’s something fun from an early Jade chapter for y’all:

While peaceful, if spooked, a plodder could kill a man with a single swipe of its plated tail. And if they used their ability to manipulate heat and make the spikes on their tails burning hot? As a girl on the Sapphire, she’d seen a crewmember return from a mission, mangled and burned beyond comprehension from an angry plodder. While it wasn’t the first grisly sight she’d witnessed, she’d never been able to get it out of her mind. There was no desire in her body to disagree with Victor’s wisdom.

The forest darkened around them as she waited for Victor to signal for them to continue moving. At this point, the guys were probably already back at the buggy. Would they be worried yet? Had they found something and forgotten to use the flares?

What about her father’s team? Had their years roaming southern Terrene, searching for clues to fix her father’s number one regret finally come to an end?

A boom thundered overhead, and pine needles rained down onto Jade and Victor. She looked up just long enough to see the streaks of an orange flare, and then a bleating roar ripped her attention to the plodders before them.

“Bleeding whales,” Jade swore, horror rippling through her skin.

Victor drew his sword. “Stay on your feet. Try not to be seen. And don’t let them hit you.”

Jade watched as the group of dragons spread into a star shape in the undergrowth, their heads in the center, tails thrashing the surrounding sparse vegetation. She slid her sword out of its sheath silently. Should they jump back behind the log? They’d be blind to the dragons then, and the plodders were huge—they’d likely just break right through it.

One turned its head from the center and looked back, its beady black eyes staring right at her. It roared and the others swiveled their heads to look at her.

Victor swore. “Run!”

About the Book

The airship crew saved Ben’s life from a dragon, of all things.

When Ben wakes up, he has no memory of his family, his home, or how he got to this strange world. All he knows is what his new crew members tell him: the magical Barrier that protects their land is weakening. Unless they find the artifact that can repair it, all of Terrene will be destroyed and enslaved by the enemies beyond.

But when Ben suspects that danger may lurk closer than dragons or sky pirates, he has to decide: stay and fight with the airship crew, or focus on regaining his lost memory? If he leaves, he risks losing his newfound friends–but if he stays, he might never return home.

Welcome to Terrene–where dragons exist, the past haunts, and magic is no myth.

Welcome aboard the Sapphire.

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About the Author

During the day, Becky is a stay at home mom of two active little boys. When she has ‘free time’, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and sewing.

After many years of creative writing classes, writing fanfiction drabbles and daydreaming, it was high time to start writing her husband Mike’s story. She dove into the world of Terrene and hasn’t looked back—except for when she runs out of dark chocolate.

Any free time not spent in Terrene is typically expended on hosting dinner and game nights, running amok with the two little monkeys or watching nerdy movies with Mike.

WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramAmazon Author Page

Let’s Party!

Calling all book readers! Join author RJ Metcalf as we chat about her fantasy novel RENEGADE SKYFARER on July 6th from 8 PM to 10 PM EST (7 PM CST and 5 PM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with RJ, games, and giveaways.

Special guests S D Grimm and Jamie Foley, Authorwill also be sharing their books and joining in the fun.

RSVP Here

 

Giveaway Time!

Want to dive into a new world or in need of a good book? Enter to win a signed print copy of Renegade Skyfarer, a Stones of Terrene notepad and pen, Notebook of Writing, and bracelet! (US only.)

>>> Entry-Form<<<

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 2nd

Tuesday, July 3rd

Wednesday, July 4th

Thursday, July 5th

Friday, July 6th

Saturday, July 7th

Monday, July 9th

Tuesday, July 10th

Wednesday, July 11th

Thursday, July 12th

Friday, July 13th

Saturday, July 14th

Monday, July 16th

 

Interviews

Interview with Kristina Mahr

Kristina Mahr head shotToday I invited Kristina Mahr to join us and talk about her newest release, All That We See or Seem.

About Kristina:

Kristina Mahr devotes her days to numbers and her nights to words. She works full-time as an accountant in the suburbs of Chicago, where she lives with her two dogs and two cats, but her true passion is writing. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and waking up at the crack of dawn every weekend to watch the Premier League.

Website: http://www.kristinamahr.com

Facebook: @AuthorKristinaMahr

Twitter: @Kristina_Mahr

Instagram: Kristina.Mahr

Now some questions!

How did you come up with the idea for All That We See Or Seem?

Luckily for me, my sister has the most vivid possible dreams! So one day, way back in February 2014, she told me about a dream she had about a girl who falls in love with a boy she meets in her dreams. As you can imagine, it sparked a lot of questions in my mind. Who was this girl? What were these dreams like? Was it all happening inside of her head? What hope was there for her and this boy? All of these questions haunted me in that lovely way that story ideas do, until the pieces that came to form All That We See Or Seem fell together.

Which books or authors have influenced you the most?

One of my foremost influencers is Marisa de los Santos. She writes adult fiction, but she has the most beautiful, lyrical prose. Specifically, her novel Belong to Me is full of lines that make me want to dramatically clasp my hands to my chest and fall to my knees, they’re just so gorgeous.

My other biggest influence is Maggie Stiefvater. Not only is her writing style also right up my alley with the poetic feel to it, but her characters come to life so vividly and distinctly. Scorpio Races is one of my all-time favorite novels because of this. Reading it is like stepping into the pages and being part of that world.

And then, I absolutely have to mention Tahereh Mafi. Her Shatter Me series… goals. Absolute writing goals. She essentially writes poetry in prose form, and she does it so stunningly, I have to pause every now and then to reread lines over and over again just to marvel over the way she manages to arrange words.

What is your writing process like?

I start with an outline, but I always laugh while I create it, because I know there is simply no way I’m going to stick with it. But it gives me an idea of the story I want to create. Along with the outline, I like to know the world in which the story will exist. And, most importantly, I like to understand the main characters – who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish. From there, I’m ready to start writing! The first 10k words or so typically spill out of me onto the page because there’s nothing like beginnings. They’re exhilarating and exciting. But then, inevitably, I hit a wall. I refer to my outline and see how far I’ve strayed, and now that I know my characters better, I reevaluate what’s to come. I create a plot map to have a visual of upcoming scenes. I do the majority of my planning at this point, now that I’ve got a beginning.

I’m also the type of writer who cannot stand to write a messy first draft. I edit as I write, and I have a hard time leaving a scene behind unless I’m completely happy with it. It might make the first draft take a little longer, but it helps a lot in terms of revisions.

What gave you the most difficulty when writing All That We See Or Seem?

Bran was probably the trickiest character for me to write. I know Reeve backwards and forwards, and Arden was just so much fun, but Bran… he was a tough nut to crack. He keeps his emotions very in check and has some pretty high walls built up, and especially when writing first person from Reeve’s perspective… well, she has no idea what he’s thinking a lot of the time! But as the writer, it was my job to break him open and let the reader (and Reeve!) get a glimpse of what makes him tick. What he wants, what he fears. How he became the person he is. I hope I succeeded. I certainly feel like I came to know him and love him! (I’m heavily biased, though. I love all of my characters.)

What is your favorite writing fuel?

Iced tea! So much iced tea. I need it to start my days like other people need coffee.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope that the strongest theme in this book is – hope. Even when circumstances seem impossible to navigate, and there is absolutely no reason to have hope, I am a firm believer that anything is possible, and you can see a lot of that belief of mine in Reeve. None of us are stuck on our path. We don’t have to play the cards we’re dealt – we can find new cards. Better cards. The cards we want most. And we can play those instead. (Is that how card games work? I feel like it’s not. But this is the metaphor I’m sticking with.)

What’s your next project?

While I wait on edits to come back to me for A Dream Within a Dream (the sequel to All That We See or Seem,) I’m in the early planning stages of a novel based on a short story I wrote a couple of years ago called Heartfire. You can find the short story here: https://bandofdreamersstories.tumblr.com/post/142534503879/heartfire. I am so excited to write this book and dive back into the world I built two years ago!

About All That We See Or Seem:

All That We See Or SeemEvery night, seventeen-year-old Reeve Lennox finds herself under a noose.

By day she is a lady of Acarsaid’s royal house, daydreaming of adventure and love. But every night in sleep she wanders through a nightmarish city, an invisible witness to the screeches of monsters and the screams of their victims. Her only consolation is Bran, a battle-torn young man with a selfless heart and eyes that reflect the stars.

Yet while Reeve falls deeper into her dreams, in truth she is engaged to Arden, a mercurial nobleman who has long been cured of his belief in love and breathes fire and flattery like other people breathe air.

Torn between two lives, Reeve struggles to remember what’s real. Until night and day collide, with a revelation that threatens all of Acarsaid.

Purchase your copy today and don’t forget to add it to your shelf on Goodreads!

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Interviews

Interview with Rebekah DeVall

Author PhotoToday we have the lovely Rebekah DeVall stopping by to tell us a little bit about herself and her newest release, Iron Core, the introduction to a gritty serial which is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

About Rebekah:

Rebekah DeVall prides herself on being the girl who wrote 200,000 words in 21 days. She’s a Christian author with a penchant for killing characters and a love for writing real female protagonists described as “the example of a Christian hero that young readers need to see”.

Contact Rebekah: 

Now, some questions for Rebekah!

  1. Why do you like to write stories?

I like to write stories because I love to live vicariously. I love to explore lives outside my own and dig deep into themes and issues that I’ll never experience in my life. There’s something special about digging deep and touching topics that many people are afraid to touch.

  1. If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why? What would you do together?

I would probably spend the day with Erec, the mentor character in Iron Core. I feel like he’d have so much wisdom to share. But knowing him, I’d probably also end up miles underground in the prison where he works, so I doubt this would be a good idea.

  1. Would you want to live in your story world? Tell us why or why not.

OF COURSE! I’d love to experience the world alongside Lunetta, my main character. She’s so naïve in so many ways that it would be a pleasure to follow her around and just watch the delight in her eyes.

  1. Can you recommend any authors/books that have inspired you and your style of writing?

Hope Ann, the author of the Legends of Light series was the first to make me realize that Christians can write other things that aren’t strictly Christian fiction.

AnnMarie Pavese, author of So Sang the Dawn, taught me how to feel things in my writing and make my readers feel it too.

The Bible actually inspired the original plot of this story! There was a prophet in the Old Testament that, when he refused to lie to please the king, was locked up in a pit in the ground. While a lot of the elements didn’t stay in this story, the underground dungeon certainly did!

  1. Can you share one lesson you have learned from your writing with your readers?

Do it afraid.

  1. If your writing style could be compared to weather, what would it be?

I’m a thunderstorm writer. My writing is the kind that shakes the earth and thunders in your ears. And as my friend Annie says, “there’s lots of random lightning strikes and lots of people die.”

BONUS: You come face to face with a dragon…what do you do?

I’d like to say I’d have the bravery to be like Hiccup and reach my hand up to it – but I’d probably freak out and pass out.

Iron Core Cover

 

Iron Core Blurb:

Everything will be okay.

Deep in Brancaleone, a prison carved from the mountainside, eighteen-year-old Lunetta plans her escape. Raised behind iron bars, all she wants is freedom – and to take her mother with her.

Get your copy of Iron Core today!

Interviews

Author Interview with Katy Huth Jones

Today we kick-off the blog tour for Mythical Doorways, the anthology from Fellowship of Fantasy where you can find my short story, “Well of Fate.” I am quite honored to host one of the other authors on my blog today. She graciously offered to come over today and tell us a little bit about herself and her short story in the anthology. Please welcome Ms. Katy Huth Jones.

Katy Huth JonesKATY HUTH JONES grew up in a family where creative juices overflowed and made puddles to splash in. In addition to writing fantasy and historical fiction, Katy loves to make music and take photos of birds and other interesting creatures. She lives with her husband Keith in the great state of Texas. Their two sons, whom she homeschooled, have flown the nest and live creative lives of their own. Best of all, she is a 2x cancer survivor.

Find her on Facebook 

Visit her blog

or contact her on twitter @KatyHuthJones
Purchase her books here!!

Hello, Katy! Tell us a bit about your story in the Mythical Doorways Anthology. Does it relate to another book you have written?

Dragon’s Oath is set in Levathia, the fictional world of Mercy’s Prince, but takes place about twenty years earlier. The main character, Ethaniel, has grown up a pacifist in the Brethren village, where Mercy was later born. I wrote this story to find out about a new character in my WIP and realized she was related to Mercy through her grandfather Ethaniel, who was banished from the pacifists over forbidden love. The story took on a life of its own, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover an important dragon character, too.

Would you want to live in your story world? Tell us, why or why not.

I would not want to live in Levathia during Ethaniel’s time, when the land was a much more dangerous place than it becomes in later years. There were dangers from dragons and monsters as well as men.

If your writing style could be compared to the weather, what would it be?

A gentle autumn breeze twirls fallen leaves into a giggling dance, but unexpected gusts scatter the leaves and drive a chill into your heart as you see the billowing storm headed your way.

Can you share an inspirational image with us of a doorway that inspired your story in the Mythical Doorways Anthology?

Gate wooden fort

This is the closest I can find to what I see in my head. The Brethren live inside a tall wooden palisade with one heavy gate that shuts out the world and locks in its people, who do not mingle with outsiders unless forced, and whose members only leave if they run away or are banished, like Ethaniel.

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Katy!

Interviews

Interview with Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

Today our guest author is Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, author of the well-know Minstrel’s Song Series. If you haven’t had a chance to check out her books yet, you really must. There are four  books in all: King’s Warrior, Second SonYorien’s Hand, and my personal favorite Minstrel’s Call. Ms. Schmidt has an incredible gift for writing epic fantasy. There are dragons in her books…did you hear me say DRAGONS?

JS Author Photo Color SMALLAuthor Bio: Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-Midwest. She now resides with her husband and their four adorable children in the wilds of Wisconsin. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family story-times when her father would read out loud to her and her siblings each night before bed. Her imagination was captured by authors such as Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander. It wasn’t long before she began making up her own stories and sharing them with her family. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.

Now to the Interview!

Why do you like to write stories?

I love writing stories for many different reasons. I love using my imagination and creating fantastical realms and stories of daring and adventure, because I’ve always loved reading, and that’s the sort of story I enjoy reading best. I like to inspire the people around me with questions of “what if?” and make people consider things from angles and perspectives they haven’t thought of before. But most of all, I write because I want to emulate my Father in Heaven who is the Greatest Author of all time. As the Creator of all things, I believe that ultimately, He is the one who has given me this passion for stories and story-telling, and the desire to reflect His creativity in what poor measures that I am able. To be able to create a story, to reflect some of the creativity of my Creator, to inspire someone else, is one of the greatest privileges I can think of.

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be? What would you do and why?

I would hang out with Kamarie in a heartbeat. She is, in many ways, the person I would like to be when I “grow up.” She is more extraverted, and more impetuous than I, and though life has given her a lot of responsibility, she rises to it with quiet grace while never losing her sense of adventure… a sense of adventure that I sometimes fear I have lost somewhere in the passing of time and growing up and having to be an adult.

I would love to just let her pull me along on a wild adventure. We’d go horseback riding, maybe go visit the Mountains of Dusk and visit with the dragons who live there. I’d love to discuss some literature or battle strategies with a gryphon, catch a glimpse of the Harshlands (though I don’t have a lot of desire to actually wander through that difficult sand-swept desert), spend some time swimming at the Pearl Cove (perhaps chat with a mermaid), and I’d love to try to find the Ionell—the secret haven of the unicorns. After that, maybe we could beg a ride to Llycaelon from a couple of dragons… because flying on dragonback is something I’ve always wanted to do! Whatever we did, though, I know we’d have a blast!

Would you want to live in your story world? Tell us why or why not.

In a heartbeat. Though I would miss indoor plumbing and the conveniences of modern civilization, I would love to live in Tellurae Aquaous. There is enough danger to make the world a good place to have adventures, but it isn’t so dangerous that I fear I would die in the first few chapters. Also, the world is so big and beautiful and full of interesting places to visit and explore. I would never get tired of finding all the nooks and crannies and surprises.

Can you suggest any books/authors that have inspired you and your writing?

Can I recommend…! Well, you asked for it.

George MacDonald’s The Light Princess and The Princess and the Goblin. C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows. Gwen Walker’s He Whistles for the Cricket. Katherine Patterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Stephen R. Lawhead’s Song of Albion and Pendragon Cycle. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Death Gate Cycle. Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci Chronicles. Anything by Timothy Zahn… and so very many more. The list of authors who have inspired my imagination and contributed to my style of writing is long, indeed.

Can you share one lesson you have learned from your writing with us today?

I’ve learned that the story doesn’t always turn out the way I thought it would… and that’s okay. Sometimes the story I intend isn’t the story that’s needed, and it is important to listen to my characters, my intuition, or perhaps it is the whisper of God into my heart that causes the words to change direction on me. But when I loosen my hold on the reins a little, that’s when the story always turns into something more beautiful than I expected.

If your writing style could be compared to the weather, what would it be?

I’d love to say a tornado or a snowstorm… something exciting and unexpected that whirls you off into delicious adventures where you completely lose yourself and all sense of time until the last page… but perhaps I’m not quite there yet. Maybe someday.

I’d be perfectly content, however, for my writing to be like a beautiful summer’s day. The kind where you just want to go on a picnic, or spend the day on a boat… that beckons you to forget all your responsibilities and troubles for a little while and linger as long as you can….

Bonus: You come face to face with a dragon: What do you do?

I bow politely and greet the dragon with the respect due his enormous size and strength. Then I quickly ask if he might enjoy some riddles, or perhaps is in need of someone to regale him with stories. I might even offer to sing a little… I have an okay voice, though it’s not anywhere as beautiful as my sister’s… but perhaps he would be interested in hearing some of her songs.

Minstrels Call Cover.jpgThank you for joining us today, Jenelle!

If you’d like to connect with her, you can find Jenelle on FacebookTwitterAmazonGoodreads, and on her personal website Jenelleschmidt.com.

 

Interviews

Interview with AnnMarie Pavese

Today our guest author is the talented Ms. AnnMarie Pavese, author of the enormous debut novel, So Sang the Dawn. If you want to read my review of this amazing book, you may do so here. It’s hard to summarize a 700-800 page novel…but I loved it. So gripping, so intense, so full of emotion…and the redemption message in the ending brought me to tears. You can learn more about AnnMarie and her debut novel on her spiffy website.

You can also connect with AnnMarie on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

PrintAbout the Author: AnnMarie Pavese lives in the mountains of Arizona, which were a huge inspiration in the creation of So Sang The Dawn. A former waitress and web designer, she unashamedly skipped college in order to pursue writing full-time. She spends her days writing, dog-momming, and mentoring other girls as they pursue their own writing dreams. She is obsessed with the woods and the cold and always writes best when it’s raining or snowing.

Now for some questions!

Why do you like to write stories?

I love writing stories for so many reasons. Partially because there’s so much freedom with it; you just get to create anything you want, and it’s your world, so anything goes. On the deeper side of things, I also love doing it because I love getting to breathe a little bit of hope and light into people’s lives and to just really use my characters to show them that they’re not alone.

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why? What would you do together?
I would kill to spend time with any and all of my characters, even the antagonists, but I think if I had to narrow it down, I would definitely want to spend the day with Aurora and Raine. I would want to go riding with them in the herders’ valley and just experience the full thrill of doing it in person instead of just writing about it.

Would you want to live in your story world? Tell us why or why not.
coverfinal4 copyI would ABSOLUTELY want to live in my story world. Maybe not in Rathmar, where the girls are held captive, but the rest of the world is so vast and amazing and has the most beautiful places. Frostholm as a whole is based on my favorite kind of landscapes, mountains and forests and snow and unique kinds of wildlife. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could.

Can you recommend any authors/books that have inspired you and your style of writing?
C.S. Lewis was probably my main inspiration, simply because I fell in love with the world of Narnia, and I love how allegorical Lewis was in his writing. I love that everything had a deeper meaning and hidden truths, and his work was really just so universal and applied to anyone from any walk of life. I don’t know that I could ever measure up to him, but I aspire to come close!

Can you share one lesson you have learned from your writing with your readers? 
I’ve learned so many life changing things from writing, one of them being that there’s always hope, and there’s always something better coming, even when we can’t see it. As a writer, I get to be involved in my characters’ lives in a really intimate way, and I actually get to see their whole story at once, from beginning to end. There are times when the characters get discouraged and want to give up because they can’t see a way out, but as the author, I know the amazing things I have planned for them, and I know that the dark parts of their stories aren’t the end. It really helped to give me hope for my own life, and to help me to keep going even when I wanted to give up.

If your writing style could be compared to weather, what would it be?
I think anyone who knows me well knows how obsessed I am with rain and snow. I think I would definitely say my writing is similar to that. It might be dark sometimes, but it’s so needed. It has its gentle moments, where it’s just warm and refreshing, and it has other moments where it’s cold and unforgiving and even bitter to accept at times. Each person takes it to heart in a different way, but no matter how it’s perceived, it always brings hope and the promise of new life.

BONUS: You come face to face with a dragon…what do you do?
I think I would hope and pray that it’s one of the dragons from How To Train Your Dragon so I could befriend it and become a dragonrider. Because who doesn’t want to do that?!

Thank you for joining us today, Annie!

authorphotoMake sure you dash over to Amazon and purchase a copy of her amazing debut novel today. You won’t regret it–I promise! It took me about a week to read this incredible story…I dare you to do it in less!

To learn more about Annie, don’t forget to join us on February 28th from 6pm-9:15pm for our Multi-Author Facebook Event!